Crow Wing County Public Health has received hundreds more doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine this week and has scheduled a few more clinics to reach groups targeted as high risk for the virus.
Joyce Mueller, Crow Wing County Public Health nurse, said two H1N1 flu clinics for pregnant women only have been scheduled for 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Jessie F. Hallett Library, 101 First St. S.E. in Crosby, and 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Crow Wing County Public Health, located in the county Community Service Building, 204 Laurel St. in Brainerd.
A H1N1 clinic for children ages 2-9 is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Pequot Lakes High School middle gymnasium. Mueller said this group may be expanded to include other children if the county receives additional vaccine.
Additional H1N1 clinics are tentatively scheduled for Nov. 21 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter and Nov. 25 at Cuyuna Range Elementary School in Crosby. The targeted group for these clinics likely will be children ages 2-9, but that information, along with the times of those clinics, hasn't been determined yet. Mueller said the Minnesota Department of Health has recommended county's target children ages 5-9 now.
Mueller recommended parents frequently check the county's flu hotline at 822-7022 to find out updated information, including whether the Pequot Lakes clinic will be expanded to other age groups. Last Friday the hotline had 628 callers.
"That's really significant because it's showing us that people are concerned," Mueller said of the high volume of calls. "They are wanting to be vaccinated and they're calling to get more information and that's exactly what we want."
Mueller said the county this week received 500 doses of injectable vaccine to be given to pregnant women, which is formulated for persons ages 4 and older, and 900 doses of FluMist. She said the county is expected to receive another shipment before the Baxter and Crosby clinics.
Mueller said suspected H1N1 viral outbreaks in area schools appear to be diminishing but said children who have been ill with suspected H1N1 are still recommended to get vaccinated because it's difficult to determine for certain whether the child had the virus. She said the district epidemiologist has reported an increase, just a few cases, in this central region of the Influenza B strain, which has the same symptoms as the H1N1 virus.
"It's important for people to know there could possibly be another wave coming and we want to protect people the best way we can," said Mueller. "Cover your cough, wash your hands and get vaccinated."
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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